Flipping The Script: Closing Time, 2017 Edition


In retrospect, perhaps it should have been expected – a young upstart, brash but dedicated, upends the established and expected champion to take the crown. We’ve seen it countless times in movies, sports and entertainment that at this point it has become clichĂ©. This time, though, it wasn’t supposed to happen. The cards had been played to perfection if you asked the people holding the hands. There was no way the young upstart would win.

And yet, nearly a month after the finale of Big Brother 19 we can look back and say that Josh’s defeat of Paul in the finale was not only one of the great endings to this show but was also one that we should have seen coming for weeks.

Consider the clues. Paul had orchestrated every eviction of the season, and while in the House no one had put it together. Still, once they were outside people began to talk – and talk, they did. Cody had done a masterful job by all accounts of pointing out to Jury members where they had made their mistakes, and (with the exception of Raven and Matt) they realized how badly they had been played. Combined with this was Josh’s masterful stroke of revealing details in his DR goodbye sessions to departing Houseguests of Paul’s deception, a move that performed two actions. First, it showed that Josh was playing a strategic game. Second, and more important, it revealed the deception of Paul’s game to departing Houseguests in such a way that it would stick with them.

The Jury sessions on the show should have been most revealing. First and foremost, it showed the attitude and arrogance that has made Raven a persona non grata amongst many former players and the fandom. Second, it showed that the “misting” of Paul dried up once they were away from him. Free to compare notes, the evicted Houseguests were able to see what strategy Paul had used against them and how they had each been played.

Lastly, the biggest sign of Paul’s defeat should have been Paul himself, and his strategy. His scorched-earh approach to getting evictions to happen were bound to frustrate and anger former allies, and this served to set him up as ripe for a loss in the finale. Paul failed to grasp three major lessons from last year’s loss, and so far has shown an inability to learn them to this day:

1) Be Humble.

Paul’s ego has caused him to show arrogance where it was not needed. The only other person to never be truly nominated (save for the Final Three, which is questionable as to being “nominated) was Derrick, and his gameplay was masterful in terms of diverting the attention from the moves he was making. Paul’s actions wouldn’t allow this.

2) Be Kind.

Whatever you say about Paul’s game strategy, it was brutal. There were ways to play so that people leaving would not blame you for their departure, and Paul failed again to make this happen.

3) Be Honest.

When given the chance, Paul failed to take ownership of his actions. This, more than anything, guaranteed that he would not be rewarded for them.

In the end, what can we say about Big Brother 19? Well, it was not an easy season to watch. In truth, the saving grace of the season was the finale night antics. It did, however, give us a lesson where one may not have been expected. Only by owning your game can you expect to win. Paul missed out on this, and lost another $450k in the process.

This does not, however, diminish the efforts of Josh as the eventual winner. Josh owned his game, was honest to people as they left and tried to be kind and humble about what he was doing at the right times. For that, he has half a million dollars as his reward. In that sense, it was good to see a true superfan win the season.

Final Thoughts

In truth, most of this season was a debacle. Poor gameplay, combined with a veteran returning who had just played in the previous season, combined for feeds that were at times unwatchable. It didn’t help that the underdog in this season was wholly unlikable but still a better option than the arrogant returnee that was on the other side of the House. Paired with these two were a collection of sycophants and hangers-on who were more worried about making the Jury and not upsetting Paul than about actually winning the game. Of the seasons that have aired to date, this was one of the least-enjoyable to watch… until the final vote.

Did the final vote redeem the season? Well, partly. It certainly made it easier to deal with the strife of the previous weeks. While we cannot call the 20th season of Big Brother a success, we can call it one with a satisfying ending.

These are the last words on the season for us. We will return as always for Big Brother 20, and we will be watching Celebrity Big Brother US Edition.